Offshore v. Onshore Hedge Funds: A Comparison
Contrary to offshore hedge funds, US-registered (onshore) funds are subject to strict marketing prohibitions, accredited investor requirements, limited number of investors, and tax disadvantage. Professors George Aragon, Bing Liang, and Hyuna Park did a study in which they exploited this difference to test predictions about organizational design, capital flow, and fund performance. They found that onshore funds impose stronger share restrictions such as a lockup provision than offshore funds, but hold more liquid assets. Their results show that capital flows are less sensitive to past performance in onshore funds than in offshore funds due to regulation on advertising, and the flow sensitivity difference affects performance. Liquidity-adjusted alpha is positive and significant (0.94% per month) only for stand-alone onshore funds that have not been affected by strong capital flows from offshore investors through a master-feeder structure.
Associate Professor of Finance, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University (Arizona)